Editor's note: This story first appeared in the spring 2021 issue of Hearts Together, a Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor Special Magazine Edition.

For six and a half years, Chris Kornowski (’18, ’20) was in the learner’s seat at Concordia University Wisconsin, eagerly soaking up all that his professors had to offer.

On Jan. 14, 2021, however, less than six months after graduating with his Master of Science in physician assistant (PA) studies, Kornowski flipped the script when he administered the first COVID-19 vaccine on campus to his former teacher Dr. Ernest Stremski, medical director of CUW’s PA program.

That day marked a historic moment for the university. After nearly a full year of disruption from the coronavirus pandemic, Concordia’s Mequon campus received its first allotment of the vaccine, symbolically marking the start of a slow-but-sure return to normal. Following the inaugural vaccine clinic, the university’s Student Health Center continues to oversee the administration of vaccines according to state guidelines.

Kornowski joined the CUW Student Health Center team as a part- time COVID-19 response coordinator for the 2020–21 academic year. He was one of nine on the CUW Student Health Center team who spearheaded unprecedented efforts to keep students healthy and the university safely open throughout the fall 2020 semester and beyond.

His position at Concordia will be a temporary one. Initially Kornowski pursued job opportunities outside of the university, only to find God continually leading him back to his alma mater.

“At first when I graduated, I thought that was the end of my Concordia journey,” said Kornowski. “As I look back today, I realize God put me right where I needed to be. It’s been the perfect way to bridge the gap between me graduating and finding a position as a full-time health care provider.”

It has also been the continuation of an overwhelmingly positive Concordia experience for Kornowski.

“From my days as an undergrad through to my graduate school experience, Concordia has always given me such a phenomenal experience,” he said. “For years, this place has poured out its resources and its love on me. What an awesome opportunity that I now get to give back to a university that gave so much to me.”

Learn more about CUW’s PA program at cuw.edu/pa.

The spring/summer 2021 Hearts Together magazine hit mailboxes in early April. View a PDF version of the magazine here. If you are not on our mailing list, but are interested in receiving a free copy, email Jennifer.Hackmann@cuaa.edu.

— This story is written by Kali Thiel, director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at kali.thiel@cuw.edu or 262-243-2149.

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